While users can already “action tag” their friends using other apps (Facebook uses foursquare as its example), the update will allow users to “mention tag” friends as well. The difference, as inferred from their names, is that action tags are for doing something with a friend, say out eating a meal together, whereas mention tags can be used for anything in the text of a user post.
When users mention a friend in another app, the mentioned friend receives a notification and the story is added to their timeline (or pending approval, depending on the user’s privacy settings).
As you can see, mention tagging (on the left) links to user profiles in the text body, whereas action tagging (right) links to profiles in the “story text.”
Facebook notes that there are no privacy changes associated with the feature, and users have to be friends with who they tag (just like on Facebook).
“This new feature is ideal for situations when people are doing activities where they want to reference friends,” Facebook’s Cyndi Li writes in the blog post. “For example, people want to mention friends when they share a special song; call a particular friend’s attention to a great movie or restaurant; or describe a photo that includes a friend.”
For users, this adds a new way to share with friends in third party apps; while not a huge upgrade, it’s a nice additional feature.
For developers and Facebook, this should be a big positive. Obviously, developers are hoping it will increase the number of features they have available, keeping users around longer and coming back more frequently.
For Facebook, this adds another way for users to see a link to Facebook in a third party app and click back to the platform. Mobile is the name of the game right now for Facebook (no, really? Tell me more!) and if it can see greater mobile engagement, especially driven by foursquare and others, this would be a big win.
Developers can apply to implement the feature now.